Costa Rica to create Caribbean tourism hub with record investment


The Costa Rican government is aiming to develop a quiet stretch of its Caribbean coast into a tourism mecca with the biggest investment of its kind in the country’s history.

The province of Limon, a two-and a-half-hour drive east from the capital, San Jose, on the country’s Caribbean coast, is made up of virgin rainforests and white-sand beaches.

While the country’s northern Pacific coast has been popular with overseas visitors for decades, the Limon region has so far been undeveloped as a tourism destination.

However, the Costa Rican government is introducing a raft of measures to help draw businesses and tourists to the area.

Government initiatives include a new free-trade zone in the town of Bufalo and massive investment in the Caribbean port towns of Limon and Moin.

Costa Rica has already signed a $1-billion concession with Dutch company APM to build a new port terminal in Moin – the biggest concession contract in the history of Costa Rica. Construction will start in 2013, and should take three years.

The development will increase the port’s capacity and turnaround time, and is expected to bring an estimated 2,000 direct and 8,000 indirect jobs to the area.

The project will be a massive boost for the province’s namesake capital of Limon, which is located 12 minutes’ drive from Moin.

“Limon started out as a company town,” explained real estate expert and writer with, Ronan McMahon. “The firm pulled out in the 1960s and since then, Limon has been a quiet affair.”

He continued, “Limon may have been forgotten up until now, but the government’s initiatives are going to turn its fortunes around.”